Bates to debut new Yaris AP4 in 2017
- 19th October 2016, 3:02am
Australian Rally Championship front-runner, Harry Bates, is set to debut a new Toyota Yaris built to the AP4 regulations in 2017.
The new car is currently being built by the Neal Bates Motorsport team in Canberra, although the process has only just begun, and the team are unsure if it will be ready in time for the first round of the championship in March.
“We’ve got a Yaris and it is stripped down and sitting in the workshop, with the goal of debuting it in round one of the ARC next year,” Harry Bates told RallySport Magazine today.
“However, we don’t know how realistic that plan is as the build process will be time consuming, and all our efforts lately have been on getting the current car ready for Rally Australia.”
"If the new car isn't ready in time, then we still have the S2000 Corolla that we can use in the meantime."
Heading into Australia’s WRC round, and the final round of the ARC, Bates is in third place, but just six points behind series leader Simon Evans, and a solitary point behind Molly Taylor.
He says there’s “all to play for” at Rally Australia, but admits that he’ll have to take a strategic approach.
“We’ll be going out at maximum attack to win the championship, but we’re well aware that we have to finish the event to give ourselves the best chance.
“I’ve been going over lots of on-board footage in preparation, while the team have been rebuilding the car ready for the final event of the year.
“Of course the championship win is the goal, but even finishing second or third is something that I’d be proud of, given that this is my first year contesting the full championship,” Bates said.
Rally Australia runs in and around Coffs Harbour from November 17 to 20.
- Peter Whitten
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